Music Biz Headlines, May 4, 2020

Drake reflects upon music during the pandemic, Bif Naked (pictured) gives her convocation speech, and Johnny Reid offers solace to Nova Scotia. Others in the headlines include The Weeknd, Bruce Cockburn, Justin Bieber, Calvin Harris, Sonic Boom, Bandcamp, drive-in concerts, streaming royalties, Tony Allen, and War.

Music Biz Headlines, May 4, 2020

By FYI Staff

Drake reflects on releasing music during coronavirus pandemic

“It’s an interesting time for us to figure out what people need, says the rapper. He surprise-released a new mixtape, Dark Lane Demo Tapes, on May 1. – Rhian Daly, NME

We asked Bif Naked to give the convocation speech that COVID-19 has denied her

With many convocations postponed or cancelled, the Star asked some prominent people receiving honorary degrees to give the speech they would have given in the current climate.Today, Beth Allen, a.k.a. Bif Naked, honoured by Simon Fraser University with a doctor of fine arts degree for her music, writing and human and animal rights advocacy. – Bif Naked, Toronto Star

Johnny Reid has released an emotional tribute to the people of Nova Scotia.

Reid says he was shocked to learn of the tragic shootings that took place on April 18 and 19 throughout several communities in Nova Scotia.The Juno-winning singer-songwriter’s latest single, “People Like You,” is a special tribute to the people who have welcomed him with open arms. – CTV News


Singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn on the challenge of writing in reaction to a crisis

Cockburn says he does not feel either an urge or an ability to say anything about the pandemic right now, as it’s too ephemeral. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

Justin Bieber loving lockdown life in Ontario

Turns out Justin Bieber is loving the quarantine life as he self-isolates at a mansion on Puslinch Lake near Cambridge, Ont. The homegrown pop star revealed during Sunday’s Stronger Together broadcast, which assembled some of Canada’s biggest stars in an effort to honour frontline healthcare workers and raise money for Food Banks Canada, that he and wife Hailey are maintaining social distance in Canada. – Mark Daniell, Toronto Sun

Former e-commerce holdout Sonic Boom builds a music community online

The Toronto record shop is now selling over 25,000 records online and has launched a virtual in-store live music series. – Richard Trapunski, NOW

Music has emerged as one of our most powerful weapons in the fight against Covid-19

 As this pandemic continues to unfold, I have taken comfort in the fact that music still brings people together. The songs we sing in our darkest hours may be the consolation that keeps us from feeling alone. – Saleema Nawaz, Globe and Mail


'SNL': Here's why The Weeknd was sporting a bloody nose during his performances

While The Weeknd put on an impressive set of performances this past weekend on SNL in a re-run of the March 7 episode from the award-winning NBC sketch comedy series, the Canadian singer raised some eyebrows with his latest look. Many viewers were left wondering about his apparent bloody nose, which made quite an impression with audiences. – Michael Hein, Pop Culture

Bandcamp's monthly initiative is becoming the new Record Store Day

The music platform is lifting its revenue share on the first Friday of every month – and now labels and musicians are putting out exclusive releases and deals. – Richard Trapunski, NOW


Drive-in concerts are now a thing in Denmark

Some experts are predicting large-scale gatherings won’t be safe until “fall 2021 at the earliest” — but apparently Denmark can’t wait that long. Last week, the city of Aarhus held a drive-in concert where audience members could watch live music from the comfort of their cars. – Nina Corcoran, Consequence of Sound

Questions artists need to ask before coronavirus ends

Coronavirus is transforming the world and, like so many industries, the music business will have changed dramatically when this is all over, and artists need to be prepared to change with it. Here, we explore a series of questions artists should be asking themselves while in quarantine. –James Shotwell, Hypebot


Arithmetic on the internet revisited: The sustainable ethical pool solution  to user-centric royalties

 “User-centric” is rapidly becoming all the rage in the streaming royalty debate.  To its credit, Deezer is the only streaming service that has announced it is working on trying to implement a user-centric model.  Others may be, but no public announcements have been made. – Chris Castle,  Musictechsolutions

Dan Steinberg’s Facebook discussion on the future of the concert industry

The story casts a light on where the industry is headed and perhaps the most telling view is that offered by Larry LeBlanc. – Celebrity Access

Newport Festivals canceled for 2020

It’s official: There will be no Newport Jazz Festival or Newport Folk Festival this year. On April 29, the fests organization announced the cancellation of both events due to the health risks posed by the covid-19 pandemic. – JazzTimes

Over one hundred Chinese musicians, including Faye Wong and Lang Lang, will give a virtual charity show named "Believe in the Future" to help people ease anxiety related to the epidemic, with the first performance starting on May 4. Chinese-Canadian singer Kris Wu is also featured. – CGTN


Missouri Governor says concerts & other live events may resume starting May 4

Governor Mike Parsons has declared that concerts and other public events like movies and amusement parks can start happening in the state starting Monday, May 4. The announcement was made as part of Missouri’s “Show Me Strong Recovery Plan” and will be the first state in the US to allow such events since the pandemic lockdown began. – Brooklyn Vegan

Our music consumption patterns are changing, but will they stay that way?

Our lives have changed so much in this time that it's a given that our music consumption patterns have as well. Even if you know that you're listening more or less than before, it's still interesting to know what the rest of the world is doing and that's where the latest series of studies from Billboard and Nielsen Music come in. – Bobby Owsinski, Forbes

Gilles Peterson and Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers pay tribute to the Fela Kuti collaborator, described by Brian Eno as ‘perhaps the greatest drummer who ever lived.’ – Laura Snapes, The Guardian

War is much better than its hits

The broad catalogue War created during their '70s prime captured the essence of Los Angeles areas like Compton and Long Beach, places where many of the band's members either grew up or moved to. In a parallel way, War's sound combined Latin-jazz, funk, pop and rock. – Jim Farber, Music Aficionado

‘Rockers and spies’ – how the CIA used culture to shred the iron curtain

Musicians and artists were all enlisted to assert US power in the cold war. A new podcast explores the part the agency played. – Ed Vulliamy, The Guardian

How the richest DJ in the world, Calvin Harris, spends his $240 million fortune

Since Harris is a very popular name in the EDM scene, it’s not surprising that he has actually been the highest-paid DJ for several years. Harris definitely earns a lot of money, so some fans might be curious to know how he spends his fortune. – Dirk Winifred, Cheat Sheet


Courtesy Photo



Celine Dion Explains Why She Finally Went Public With Stiff Person Syndrome Diagnosis: ‘I Could Not Do This Anymore’

In an upcoming NBC prime-time special the singer says that lying to the fans who got here where she is today felt wrong.

Celine Dion suspected something was wrong with her for a a long time. But it wasn’t until she publicly shared her diagnosis with the rare neurological condition Stiff Person Syndrome in 2022 that the singer finally felt like she’d come clean about her health struggles. In the latest preview of an upcoming NBC primetime special in which Dion discusses her health issues, the Canadian powerhouse vocalist tells The Today Show‘s Hoda Kotb that she knew it was time to be more transparent.

“I could not do this anymore,” Dion says of the burden of not telling her fans and the public the secret she was carrying in the first broadcast interview since her diagnosis. “What do you want me to say? I have… what? We did not know what was going on,” the singer says. “I did not take the time. I should have stopped. Take the time to figure it out… my husband as well was fighting for his own life. I had to raise my kids. I had to hide. I had to try to be a hero. Feeling my body leaving me, holding onto my own dreams. And the lying for me was – the burden was like too much.”

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